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Best Pistol Scopes Reviewed & Rated for Quality

last updated Aug 20, 2019

While many hunters hit the field armed to the teeth withhunting rifles and shotguns, others prefer the low profile approach of pistol hunting using pistol scopes.

Of course, there's something admirable about taking down a mark from super long-range, but the joy of pistol hunting is like no other.

For one, you’ll enjoy greater freedom to move around with your hands-free. You’ll also be able to get closer to your game which will heighten your hunting senses. In fact, many hunters believe that pistol hunting has helped to develop their tracking skills and made them an all-around better hunter.

So if this sounds like something you’re interested in, you are definitely going to need to outfit your pistol with a scope. And because there are hundreds of different options out there, we’ve rounded up the best scopes for pistol out on the market today.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 12 hrs of research

icon
Bushnell Red Dot Sight
99.8/100 our score
Accuracy
100
Adjustability
99
Durability
100
Size
100
Value
100
Bushnell Red Dot Sight
Why is it better?

Great price point

3 MOA red dot reticle

11 different settings for brightness

Waterproofing and fog proofing

Shockproof body design

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Bushnell Red Dot Sight
Test Winner: Bushnell Red Dot Sight
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
26
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
5200
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
12
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Sorting Options
Accuracy Adjustability Durability Size Value By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
99.8
Accuracy
100 %
Adjustability
99 %
Durability
100 %
Size
100 %
Value
100 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.09.19)
Amazon Link
$51.15
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
99.2
Accuracy
100 %
Adjustability
100 %
Durability
100 %
Size
99 %
Value
97 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.09.19)
Amazon Link
$348.98
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.8
Accuracy
97 %
Adjustability
98 %
Durability
97 %
Size
99 %
Value
98 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.09.19)
Amazon Link
$124.99
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.8
Accuracy
99 %
Adjustability
98 %
Durability
100 %
Size
97 %
Value
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.09.19)
Amazon Link
$599.99
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.8
Accuracy
97 %
Adjustability
97 %
Durability
96 %
Size
94 %
Value
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.09.19)
Amazon Link
$186.95
Cabelas
$349.99
See Deal
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.4
Accuracy
94 %
Adjustability
97 %
Durability
93 %
Size
98 %
Value
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.09.19)
Amazon Link
$24.97
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.8
Accuracy
92 %
Adjustability
94 %
Durability
93 %
Size
93 %
Value
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.09.19)
Amazon Link
$35.83
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
Accuracy
97 %
Adjustability
94 %
Durability
92 %
Size
86 %
Value
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.09.19)
Amazon Link
$96.97
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
Accuracy
91 %
Adjustability
92 %
Durability
90 %
Size
92 %
Value
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.09.19)
Amazon Link
$45.00
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.6
Accuracy
88 %
Adjustability
91 %
Durability
92 %
Size
90 %
Value
87 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.09.19)
Amazon Link
$95.59

10 Best Pistol Scopes

1. Bushnell Red Dot Sight

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
99.8
Bushnell Red Dot Sight
Amazon Link
Accuracy
100
Adjustability
99
Durability
100
Size
100
Value
100
best offer for today
more shops
Amazon Link
$51.15
Pros:

Great price point

3 MOA red dot reticle

11 different settings for brightness

Waterproofing and fog proofing

Shockproof body design

Cons:

Not a great battery life

We kick off our list with the Bushnell Red Dot Sight. This is one of the best pistol scopes for your money out there. It is super durable, highly effective, and guaranteed to work in even the worst of weather conditions--and all that at a price point that won’t break the bank.

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Super Durable Body
The Bushnell Red Dot Sight is super durably made. This baby is designed to be shockproof, so it can handle all of the drops, bangs, and contact that you might experience while you are out in the field.

This product is designed to be waterproof. It has an O-Ring construction that works to seal the optics portion of the sight to keep water out. This not only functions to keep it safe in rainy conditions but works even in the entire sight is submerged underwater as well.

This product comes in a matte finish in black. The lens is yellow.

This product can be easily installed on the majority of Picatinny rails. It is compatible with pistols, muzzleloaders, shotguns, and works well as a riflescope too.

This product is battery powered and some reviewers found that the battery life was less than expected. It is suggested that you remove the battery when you are storing your gun so as not to accidentally leave the scope on and run through the batteries more quickly.

Nitrogen Purged to Fight Fog
The Bushnell Red Dot Sight will work no matter the weather conditions. The lenses are nitrogen purged to fight pesky fog. What exactly does this mean?

Inside of the scope, there is nitrogen present that works to prevent fog from developing due to humidity or rapid changes in temperature on the internal surfaces of the optics. This will ensure that your field of vision stays totally clear and crisp, no matter what.

This product features a 3 MOA reticle which means the dot will cover 3 inches of your target at 100 yards. There are 11 different settings for brightness on the product.

Cost and Value
The Bushnell Red Dot Sight rings up towards the bottom of our price range and we love its value because it is one of the more inexpensive items on our list while still being incredibly durable and weatherproof, and while being compatible with a wide range of firearms.

2. Burris Handgun Ballistic Plex

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
99.2
Burris Handgun Ballistic Plex
Amazon Link
Accuracy
100
Adjustability
100
Durability
100
Size
99
Value
97
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$348.98
Pros:

Ballistic Plex Reticle for drop accuracy

PosiLock for recoil defense

32 millimeter objective lens

Lifetime warranty

Range of magnification from 2x-7x

Cons:

On the pricier side

The Burris Handgun Ballistic Plex Reticle is one of the best Burris pistol scopes on the market today. This product will cost you a little bit more, but the benefits are certainly worth it. This product can handle some serious recoil and is also insanely accurate with patented Burris technology that will help you to land your shot precisely, every time.

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Ballistic Plex Reticle
The Burris Handgun Scope comes complete with Burris’s patented Ballistic Plex Reticle technology. This tech works to increase accuracy and precision. How does it do that? By compensating for the drop of the bullet on the lower of the vertical crosshairs. And what’s great is that this tech works just as well from 100 yards as it does from 500 yards.

We love that this product offers such a wide range of magnification so that you can get just the viewing scope that you need. You can adjust between 2 times the magnification for a large viewing field and lighting fast targeting, all the way up to 7 times the magnification for long-range shots.

This product features a 32-millimeter objective lens that is clear. The body of the product is finished in matte black.

Bring on the Recoil
The Burris Handgun Ballistic Plex Reticle is designed to withstand even the toughest of recoils. This specific model can handle recoils all the way up to .50 BMG (or a 50 caliber machine gun rifle shot). It does this with an extra design feature called the PosiLock.
PosiLock uses the same springs as a standard scope, but it also employs a steel rod that is retractable to lock and set turret adjustments so that they stay securely in place, no matter how major the recoil.

Cost and Value
The Burris Handgun Ballistic Plex Reticle rings up toward the top of our price range but we love its value because it offers tons of variety in a single product and because it can withstand major recoil without losing accuracy. And to top it off, all Burris scopes come with a lifetime warranty when purchased directly from Burris.

3. Vortex Optics Crossfire Red Dot

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.8
Vortex Optics Crossfire Red Dot
Amazon Link
Accuracy
97
Adjustability
98
Durability
97
Size
99
Value
98
best offer for today
more shops
Amazon Link
$124.99
Pros:

Super lightweight and durable aluminum body

Fully and multi-coated lenses

Waterproof nitrogen purging and O-Ring

2 MOA for more precision

11 Different lighting settings

Cons:

Issues with the battery during recoil

The Vortex Optics Crossfire Red Dot Sight is among the best vortex pistol scopes that money can buy. This is an ideal companion for close range hunting and targeting, and if you’re looking for a scope that has premium features and advantages at a non-premium price, then look no further. In fact, this product greatly resembles the Burris above, but at about one third of the price.

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Fully and Multi-Coated Lenses
The Vortex Optics Crossfire Red Dot Sight boasts tons of premium features that still won’t drain your pocketbook. All of the lenses in this product are fully coated and are multi-coated as well. This is important as it works to bring more clarity and crispness, even in low lighting situations.

The reticle itself is super bright and features 11 different settings to let different amounts of light in depending on your needs and lighting situations. The reticle is a 2 MOA which means the dot will cover 2 inches of your intended target at 100 yards away. This functions excellently in close range scenarios but can hold its own in distance shooting as well.

The eye relief on this product is limitless, so you can be as far away or as close to the scope as necessary (depending on where you have to mount the scope) without losing the critical field of view.

Mount is Skeletonized
The Vortex Optics Crossfire Red Dot Sight is a very compact product and is also super lightweight. Because of this, it functions as well on pistols as it does on rifles.
The mounting style on this product is skeletonized which allows you to mount at 2 different heights--low and ultra-low.

This product is shockproof and features an aluminum body (which also serves to make it lightweight). It has been nitrogen purged and sealed with an O-Ring which means that you won’t have to fuss around with bothersome fogging on the internal lens surfaces, and that you won’t have to worry about water damage on the product even from intense rains.

Cost and Value
The Vortex Optics Crossfire Red Dot Sight rings up towards the lower end of our price range and we love its value because it is loaded with tons of premium style features that won’t drain your wallet. It is the perfect, middle of the line purchase that will deliver the results you want at a price you’ll love.

4. Leupold FX-II Handgun Duplex

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.8
Leupold FX-II Handgun Duplex
Amazon Link
Accuracy
99
Adjustability
98
Durability
100
Size
97
Value
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$599.99
Pros:

Adds 20 minutes of “light”

100% weatherproof and shock proof

Super lightweight body

Disperses recoil impact for sustained focus

Lenses are military grade scratch resistant

Cons:

Some wished for a longer eye relief

The Leupold FX-II Handgun Duplex is the most premium product on our list, but it is built to withstand even the most radical conditions that you might encounter in the field. It is 100% proof--shockproof, fog proof, and waterproof--so you can rely on it no matter what the hunt throws at you.

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Visibility Like No Other
The Leupold FX-II Handgun Duplex features visibility like you won’t find on other products on the market. In fact, the lenses are designed to gift you 20 more minutes of light before sunrise and after sunset as they let more light in than other products on the market. This gives you a definite competitive edge as well as more playtime.

Not only that, but the lenses are treated to limit the amount of glare across your field of vision, which works to bring clarity in the sight from edge to edge. The eye relief on this product is 18 inches. The objective lens diameter measures 28 millimeters.

The surfaces of the lenses are treated to be scratch resistant and meet military standards for abrasion resistance.

With a duplex reticle, you will be able to hone in on your target like you never thought possible.

100% Produced in the USA
The Leupold FX-II Handgun Duplex is a 100% USA product. It was designed in the United States, machined there, and assembled there.

It is totally weatherproof and can sustain major impacts without being damaged. And you won’t have to worry about recoil issues with this product either. It is designed to disperse the impact and shock of the recoil for ultimate durability despite being super lightweight.

Speaking of lightweight, this product weighs in at just 7 ounces, or less than half a pound making it the perfect companion for your pistol.

Cost and Value
The Leupold FX-II Handgun Duplex rings up at the very top of our price range but we love its value because the premium features on this product are worth paying for. If you have the extra change to splurge for the best, you certainly won’t be disappointed and you will enjoy this product for years and years to come.

5. Nikon 8470 Force XR Nikoplex

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.8
Nikon 8470 Force XR Nikoplex
Amazon Link
Accuracy
97
Adjustability
97
Durability
96
Size
94
Value
95
best offer for today
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Amazon Link
$186.95
Cabelas
$349.99
See Deal
Pros:

Longer eye relief for handgun use

NikoPlex reticle for faster sighting

Ultra Clear Coating on lenses

Weatherproof and recoil proof

Quick focus technology

Cons:

Some found this product bulky

The Nikon 8470 Force XR Nikoplex is one of the best Nikon pistol scopes on the market today. If eye relief was a complaint on the last product, you won’t find that here. With longer eye relief and rugged durability that lets in tons of light, this product lives up to all of the standards you have come to expect from Nikon.

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Long Range Eye Relief
The Nikon 8470 Force XR Nikoplex features longer eye relief so you won’t have to worry about sacrificing your field of view. You will be able to enjoy the full field anywhere from 9.7 inches to 22.4 inches away.

Plus, this product features an eyepiece with quick focus technology which allows the user to get laser focused precision in just seconds.

This product is recoil proof and weatherproof so it can stand up to whatever conditions you introduce it to. It is sealed with an O-Ring and filled with nitrogen to ensure that no fog forms on the inside on the scope and to ensure that water stays where it belongs--on the outside.

The objective lens diameter measures 20 millimeters.

This product weighs just 7.4 ounces, or just under half of a pound.

NikoPlex Reticle
The Nikon 8470 Force XR Nikoplex features a NikoPlex reticle that was designed specifically with hunters in mind. The thicker outer posts of the reticle work to direct the eyes towards the center of the reticle where the posts are finer. This allows for a clearer field of vision while still having crosshairs.

The lenses have been coated in Ultra ClearCoat. This coating allows for a total of 95% of light to pass through which brings on tons of brightness to your field of vision.

Cost and Value
The Nikon 8470 Force XR Nikoplex rings up in the middle of our price range and we love its value because it mirrors a lot of the great features of the Leupold above at about one fourth of the price.

6. Pinty Red Green Reflex Holographic

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.4
Pinty Red Green Reflex Holographic
Amazon Link
Accuracy
94
Adjustability
97
Durability
93
Size
98
Value
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$24.97
Pros:

Comes with 4 different reticle patterns

Reticle can be seen in red or green

Shockproof and water resistant

Lightweight body of aluminum alloy

Super inexpensive

Cons:

Issues with the battery

The Pinty Red Green Reflex Holographic is one of the most affordable items on our list and it has some cool features that have not shown up yet in this Ten Best. You will enjoy a lightweight body that offers an unlimited eye relief as well as different red and green holographic reticle patterns to choose from so you’ll never miss a shot.

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Wide Field of View
The Pinty Red Green Reflex Holographic offers a super-wide field of view. Because it does not have a tube, the reflex lens which measures 33 millimeters in diameter delivers tons of view space. And with unlimited eye relief, you can enjoy this viewing field clearly from any distance (critical when holding the gun out at arm's length).

This product is made from lightweight aluminum (alloy), which allows it to be durable and shockproof. It is also designed to sustain some beating from the elements and is treated to be fog proof as well as water-resistant.

This product comes with a built-in Picatinny mounting base for ease in the installation process. And you will be able to adjust the elevation and windage of this scope with the tools that are provided for you when you purchase this product.

Red and Green Reticle Patterns
The Pinty Red Green Reflex Holographic is the first on our list to feature an array of holographic reticle patterns. You can choose between 4 different patterns (a single dot, a circle and dot, crosshairs, and a crosshairs and circle combo). You are also able to change the colors of the holographic from red to green.

Cost and Value
The Pinty Red Green Reflex Holographic rings up at the very bottom of our price range and we love its value because it offers holographic features that many other products on the market do not, and because it comes with the base ready for installation as well as the tools you will need to make the proper adjustments for your specific gun.

7. NcStar 2.5X30 Blue Lens

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.8
NcStar 2.5X30 Blue Lens
Amazon Link
Accuracy
92
Adjustability
94
Durability
93
Size
93
Value
92
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$35.83
Pros:

Large 30 millimeter objective lens

Large range of eye relief

Shock and weather resistant

Blue coated lenses

No batteries needed

Cons:

Not super long lasting

The NcStar 2.5X30 Blue Lens is another great budget scope to make our list. While it doesn’t have all of the frills of more advanced (and way more expensive) products on our list, it will get the job done at pennies on the dollar.

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Objective Lens Measures 30 Millimeters
The NcStar 2.5X30 Blue Lens features 2.5 times the magnification of the naked eye.

You will enjoy an extra large objective lens that measures 30 millimeters in diameter. Because the coatings on these lenses are not premium quality, the larger objective lens size allows for more light in which you will need--especially in low lighting scenarios. As the objective lens is a bit large, this product is a bit weightier, weighing in at a touch over 14 ounces.

The lenses are coated in blue.

Plex Reticle
The NcStar 2.5X30 Blue Lens features a Plex Reticle. This reticle is not illuminated, and simply manifests as crosshairs. That means you won’t have to worry about batteries for this product, but you also won’t be able to use it in the dark.

You will enjoy a longer range of eye relief on this product. Reviewers report that the eye relief range extends from about 5 inches to around 20 inches in reality. This gives you a wider range of mounting options as well.

This product is marketed as shock proof and weatherproof. Reviewers report that these conditions are true, but that they don’t hold up for as long as more premium models.

Cost and Value
The NcStar 2.5X30 Blue Lens rings up at the bottom of our price range and we love its value because it is an accurate scope with long eye relief and nice lighting for a budget option.

8. UTG 2-7X32

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
UTG 2-7X32
Amazon Link
Accuracy
97
Adjustability
94
Durability
92
Size
86
Value
91
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$96.97
Pros:

Comes with mounting rings

25 inches of eye relief

Accounts for projectile drop

Totally sealed body

Nitrogen infused between lenses

Cons:

Some found this too bulky

The UTG 2-7X32 is another great budget option that still boasts some premium features. In this product, you’ll find a longer eye relief as well as drop projectile accommodation (which we saw in the far more expensive Burris option on our list above at Number 2).

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Totally Sealed Body
The UTG 2-7X32 is built with strength and durability in mind.

The body of the product is totally sealed and features an O-Ring which keeps all of the important components on the inside of the scope dry and free of water deposits. With nitrogen filling the space between the internal components, you won’t have to worry about fog building up or developing either, no matter what the weather or outside temperatures.

Drop Projectile
The UTG 2-7X32 also features a drop projectile accommodation (which we have only seen on super-premium products). This feature accounts for a drop in the projectile of a bullet depending on how far the bullet is from the target.

You will be able to adjust the elevation and windage easily with the supplied tool with your purchase. Plus, this product comes with the scope rings that you will require for mounting.

And with a whopping 25 inches of eye relief on this product, you will be able to have a ton more options for mounting positions which makes this a great choice for a wider array of handgun styles.

Cost and Value
The UTG 2-7X32 rings up on the lower end of our price range and we like its value because it incorporates premium features as well as mounting hardware at a not so premium price.

9. Hammers Long Eye Scout

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
Hammers Long Eye Scout
Amazon Link
Accuracy
91
Adjustability
92
Durability
90
Size
92
Value
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$45.00
Pros:

Between 2 and 7 times the magnification

Comes with mounting rings

Fine line reticle for clearer field of vision

Finger adjustments for windage and elevation

Cons:

Shorter eye relief

The Hammers Long Eye Scout is another of the most affordable options on our list. But despite being friendly to the budget, it still offers fine features that will come in handy on your next hunt. Plus, you’ll get mounting rings with your purchase so you’ll be able to install right away.

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Lots of Zoom
The Hammers Long Eye Scout features tons of zoom. You will enjoy a range of 2 times the magnification of the naked eye all the way up to 7 times the magnification. This allows you to cater to your field of view and toggle between magnifications depending on how far away you are from your target.

We like that the reticle on this device is a fine line, which allows for a clearer field of view while still enjoying the precision of a crosshair.

You will be able to adjust the elevation and windage with the finger screws.

Comes with Mounting Rings
The Hammers Long Eye Scout comes with all you need to install your scope right away. Your purchase will include Weaver Rings which are super easy to use and work with.

The eye relief on this product is not as long as some others on our list and maxes out at about 17 inches. That means you’ll have to be more conscious about where you install the scope on your handgun.

Plus, this product is a little weightier than some of our other featured products, weighing in at about 11 ounces which will have an impact on where you want to install the scope for balance as well.

Cost and Value
The Hammers Long Eye Scout rings up at the bottom of our price range and we like its value because it comes with the mounting hardware you need for installation and because it offers an array of magnification options.

10. BSA 2-7X32 Edge Series

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.6
BSA 2-7X32 Edge Series
Amazon Link
Accuracy
88
Adjustability
91
Durability
92
Size
90
Value
87
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$95.59
Pros:

32 millimeter objective lens

Sturdy zoom knob

Magnification from 2 times to 7 times

Shorter than others

Good eye relief

Cons:

Hard to level at zero

The BSA 2-7X32 Edge Series is the perfect way to round out our list. It has clear lenses that let in tons of light which make spotting your target a breeze. As a shorter option than others out there and with generous eye relief, this product will provide more options when going to mount.

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32 Millimeter Objective Lens
The BSA 2-7X32 Edge Series features a 32 millimeter objective lens. This feature allows for tons of light to pass through the lenses and gives the shooter a clearer field of view with sharper imagery.

The eye relief on this product ranges from 12 inches to 20 inches, so it can be mounted on the front or rear of the pistol and still be held and arm’s length for most shooters.

From 2x to 7x Mag
The BSA 2-7X32 Edge Series features a variable power scope like others on our list. You can zoom manually from 2 times the magnification to 7 times the magnification. Users like the zoom knob and say it feels sturdy.

However, some users found that it was hard to hit the bull at zero as there was not enough left and right adjustment allowances.

Cost and Value
The BSA 2-7X32 Edge Series rings up in the low middle of our price range and we like its value because it lets in a good amount of light and is easy to mount on various different pistols.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Accuracy

When considering the products that would make this Ten Best List, we took a good look at how accurate each product is. Obviously, a scope is useless if it isn’t accurate. There are a few things we considered under this category.

First, we take a look at MOA. We will discuss this further below in the Expert Tips section so we won’t go too much into detail here, but we will say that we are looking for you are looking for larger MOAs when shooting at closer distances, as you likely will be with a pistol.

We also look at how easy it is to get the scope to zero out on the bull. This is critical for accuracy.

Finally, we look at how well a scope stays focused, even after firing multiple rounds and having the scope absorb shock.

Adjustability

In terms of adjustability, we look to see how easy (again) it is to center the scope, whether or not you can adjust the magnification for short and long distances, and whether or not you can adjust the windage and elevation (and if you can do this by hand or with a tool).

Durability

Durability was a key consideration as well. We feature products that are shockproof and waterproof because products that aren’t just won’t be durable enough to sustain impacts, recoils, and weather out in the field.

Size

Size was an important consideration as you will be mounting these on smaller firearms. We showcase products that can be mounted appropriately and securely without weighing the gun down.

Value

We always try to balance functionality and cost. We draw attention to products that are more inexpensive, but that showcase premium quality features as this is the best of both worlds.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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expert tips icon
How To Pick the Right MOA

Let’s start with what MOA means. MOA stands for Minute of Angle. This is a measurement that refers to angular measures in circles.

When applying this to a scope, we are referring to the size (diameter) of the reticle over the target at a specific distance. For example, a 1 MOA reticle will have a 1 inch diameter at 100 yards away.

The smaller the MOA, the more accurate the shot, but the harder the target is to see. And, of course, the inverse is true. The larger the MOA, the easier it is to see, but the less accurate the shot is.

So what to do?

Basically, as a rule of thumb, you will want to go with a tinier MOA dot when shooting at a distance and a bigger MOA dot when shooting close range. The average is around 3 MOA.

The Facts About Objective Lens Size

For cheaper scopes, the size of the objective lens matters.

Here’s the skinny.

Before optic technology became hyper-developed, the larger the objective lens, the more light is allowed in. More light produces clearer and brighter images.

Nowadays, this is not the only factor that contributes to light or clarity. A smaller objective lens can be coated with a variety of different finishes to allow more light in and to make images clearer. However, this process costs more money.

So if you are looking at an expensive scope with a smaller objective lens, you will likely get a crisper and brighter image than a less expensive scope with a larger objective lens.
So if you are going to go the budget route, go for a larger objective lens.

But remember, the larger an objective lens, the heavier the scope which can become an issue when you go to mount.

Other Factors to Consider

Battery Life

Almost all of the scopes on this list require batteries. Most require the small circular batteries--the CR2032. The battery life on the scopes depend on how powerful the scope is as well as the total battery construction area. Sometimes the battery housing will be shocked by the recoil and cause the battery to move around which can hamper its life.

Try to remove your battery when you are not using the scope to ensure you don’t accidentally store your scope with the scope turned on.

Shock Absorption

Here we look at how much recoil a scope can sustain. It is important to note that most of the scopes on this list are designed specifically for pistols which means they will not work with rifles or shotguns because the recoil on a rifle/shotgun is much greater.

Too much recoil can throw off the alignment and can even loosen the lenses inside, rendering the scope useless.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Do the scopes on this list come with their own mounts?

a:

A few of the products on this list do come with their own mounting gear. We mention this specifically when that is the case. If you do not see this in the product description, then you will need to provide your own mounting gear.

q: How do I know which mounting gear I need?

a:

We try to describe the mounts needed for each scope. Most of the scopes will be mounted with rings or with Picatinny mounts.

q: Will I mount the scope at the front or rear of the gun?

a:

This depends on the scope, the gun, the eye relief, and your preferences. You will want to make sure wherever you install the scope that it is balanced on your gun. You also want to ensure that you have a full field of view in accordance with the eye relief at arm’s distance.